Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

General

THE JINX Is Not A Documentary

HBO’s The Jinx has been the topic du jour for the last week.

In what’s probably a first for true crime TV entertainment, a TV program appears to have cracked a case and surreptitiously recorded a confession. Everyone hoped Serial would do this, but it didn’t come close to what The Jinx has apparently done. There are certainly ethical issues with the fact that director Andrew Jarecki withheld information from the police so that he could be the one to break the case, but what troubles me is how the mini-series masquerades as a documentary so that it can appear an authoritative voice and what really happened. 

Now I enjoyed the mini-series and praise Jarecki’s interviewing skills and the vivid portrait he painted of Robert Durst.

But from the start of The Jinx one choice of his that bothered me was the heavy use of reenactments.

I’ve always felt that reenactments clash with the fundamental idea of documentary filmmaking. But I understand that directors don’t want their whole film to just be talking heads, and I know I’m in the minority on this.

Fair enough.

Jarecki, however, pushes reenactments into a new territory by reenacting events that are unconfirmed.

Reenactments are dramatizations of stories told by primary sources. And, the authenticity of those stories is generally undisputed.

In The Jinx Jarecki reenactments include showing Durst committing murders, include the before and after — him traveling to the crime scene and then him leaving. This is all pure supposition from various people and Jarecki.

None of this is based on any eyewitness testimony or what has been determined as the official record in legal proceeding. As damning as the evidence may be, at this point the dramatizations are pure fiction.

By placing these fictional dramatizations into something that calls itself a documentary it launders that the fact that they’re fiction, or more generously, just a theory of what might have happened.

Further, by showing these dramatizations of his theories over and over again Jarecki is insisting to the audience that this is in fact what happened, even though there is no corroboration or adjudication of these events.

Genre is a compact between filmmaker and audience. When you tell viewers what genre your film is part of it’s a way of telling people what it is about and setting expectations.

Jarecki has violated that compact. By calling The Jinx a documentary viewers expect a non-fiction story with a reasonable degree of nonbiased storytelling from the filmmakers. But Jarecki very slickly weaves together reenactments and pure fiction clips.

The Jinx is not really film about Robert Durst but about Andrew Jarecki — a filmmaker finding himself in the middle of a real murder investigation.

As the episodes progress he has more screen time has he evolves from someone who is just interviewing Durst to investigating him. Presenting it has more of a personal film rather than a documentary would have been have solved these issues and given him even more flexibility. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER

Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.

SOCIAL INFLUENCER POLICY

In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like

Movies/Blu-ray/DVD

Along with 1883 and 1923, Lawmen: Bass Reeves is the third period western miniseries from Yellowstone creator Tyler Sheridan. The series was initially conceptualized...

News

It’s time to BELIEVE! The heartwarming and critically acclaimed comedy series, Ted Lasso, is making its highly anticipated debut on Blu-ray and DVD, bringing...

Movies/Blu-ray/DVD

Two years after its six episode run, the most interesting thing about revisiting Moon Knight is that it feels like the most serious break...

News

Oh, My Gawd!  In celebration of the 30th anniversary of one of television’s most watched sitcoms, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment will release FRIENDS:...